This season of my life has been marked by fear. I would dare to say my life has recently been run by fear. I am exhausted from unceasingly working to fight against the fear, to fight against the woman fear turns me into, and to fight against the bad habits my fear has made me create.
I have done some scary stuff in my short 24 years. I thought fear would stop having control on my life when I went to Scotland, but it is almost like the more I step out and face fears, the more fear tries to chase me down. I am reading a book right now and the author, Annie Downs, writes of how she doesn’t want to work through grief and the hurtful bit of life, also known as feeling all the feels. Yet, as she lets herself feel the darker side of life she begins to see beauty in places she couldn’t see it before. I am trying to remember how much sweeter life tastes when I step out from behind those walls the fear has caused me to build.
Right now, I feel frozen in fear. It is like I cannot really move–I am scared of so much in my life and the heartbreaking thing is that I am scared of the incredible good that is in my life. It all comes back to my root problem, my trust issues–I don’t trust God so I certainly don’t trust people. I currently feel like a wounded animal, raw and curled up in a corner of a dark room behind those cold stone walls–willing to lash out at anyone trying to get near me.
There are many things that have caused me to feel this way and to hide behind those walls, things that I don’t feel comfortable going into depth right now (maybe one day, but not today). I just feel raw from the hurt and the fear of future hurt that I am settling for a life that is miserable. Miserable, because I am hiding away from fully experiencing the sheer beauty of all that God is doing in my life. Sometimes I see God just reaching out God’s hand to me, inviting me to the table that God has prepared for me, reaching out her hand to invite me into the dance she is shimmying in BUT fear stops me from taking the hand of God and fully participating in the joyful festival that is a life shared with God.
I have been here before. I have been to scared to take God’s hand and participate in this life fully in communion with God and my fellow brothers and sisters. Why? Because I am so blasted scared of getting hurt. I sat down and journaled tonight; tons of “What if?” questions began flooding the page, questions that only made the fear and panic worse. All the things were hypothetical and panic only reaps more panic. THEN I did my devotional and the passage that it led to was the one I used in my previous post, 1 John 4:18;
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
Yeah, you could say that God is really trying to tell me something.
I spoke with one of my best mates tonight and he said something that forced me to reflect. Like the true friend he is, he called me out. He told me he was concerned about all the scaredness I was feeling because it was causing me to lash out. I hate this about myself. I hate that when I am so scared, I lash out at the people I love the most. I become very defensive and hide behind those walls, rather than let people in and listen to the words they are speaking in love to me.
I don’t want to be a woman living in fear. I do not want to be a woman too scared to let people in or to let God in. I don’t want to lash out at the people who love me and who I love. I desperately want to take God’s outstretched hand and choose to live fully present in this world, free of walls. I want to lay my heart out, I want to leave it open so that all who come to me can find a home, and I want to keep it open even when it is hurt and abused. I want to dare to believe that love, and only love, is the answer. I heard a song today that said, “You have to love like there is no such thing as a broken heart.” That is the type of person I want to be, the kind that loves like my heart has never been broken.
Fear makes me a shell of the woman I know I am. Fear holds me back from experiencing the fullness of all that life has to offer. When I block off my heart in a broken attempt to “guard my own heart” I only block off my heart from experiencing life in its beautiful technicolor (anyone hear the song from the Lizzie McGuire movie: “Yesterday my life was duller now everything is technicolor??).
What is on the other side of your fear? I hope that whatever fear is blocking you from doing, you choose to step out in faith and take God’s hand.
I think one of the best things I have read, something that I continue to come back to time and time again, is a section that comes from the book that helped me to recognize my call from God, Hearing the Call:
“…for ultimately, God does not often call us to be ‘safe’–but what he has promised is that he will always be with us. This is summed up for me by John Macmurray: ‘The maxim of illusory religion runs: ‘Fear not; trust in God and he will see that none of the things you fear will happen to you’; that of real religion, on the contrary, is: ‘Fear not, the things that you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of'” (p. 41).
God never asks me to do the things that are easy–God asks me to do the things that scare the living daylights out of me, but promises to never leave me. I rely upon one of my favorite passages, the passage that gave me the courage to say “yes” to God’s call to Scotland, Genesis 28:15
“Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Let’s step out in faith together, trusting that wherever God’s call leads us we will not go alone and it will be far more beautiful than anything we designed ourselves.
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Peace, Joy, Blessings and All My Love,